Hoaxes & Rumors

Giant Squid Photo: Real or Fake?

Giant Squid Photo: Real or Fake?

An image circulating shows a massive squid that allegedly washed ashore in California. The creature is said to have attained its size due to radiation from the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Is the photo real or fake?

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It’s fake.

Let’s first take a look at what is being circulated. A recent tweet including the image stated:

Giant Squid Found In California Scientists Suspect #Fukushima caused


This fake image first circulated in January 2014, and shows a massive creature on the beach, surrounded by onlookers. The original photo, however, does not include the image of a giant squid, but that of a normal-sized whale which washed up on a beach in Chile in 2011. In an article entitled “Whale found dead in Chile,” 4thmedia.org (citing China Daily) reported on the beached whale at the gulf of Arauco in November 2011. The original image was included in the story.


See more photos at 4thmedia.org.

The squid in the photo appears to have been lifted from another photo and superimposed over the whale.

In late 2014, the fake squid photo began seeing additional social media sharing via the factecards.com website. The image is shown with the caption, “Giant squid measuring 160 feet from head to tentacle tip was washed ashore at Santa Monica coastline.” Readers are then prompted to choose “True” or “False” with either answer prompting them to share the image on Facebook.

Giant Squid and Colossal Squid

Although giant and colossal squids do exist, they do not reach the mammoth size suggested in the captions for this fake photo. A colossal squid captured in 2007, thought to be the largest in the world, measured about 45 feet in size.

Bottom Line

A giant squid related to Fukushima did not wash ashore in California. The image is fake, and originated from a beached whale photo snapped in 2011.

Revised October 13, 2014
Originally published January 2014

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